WHOEVER said a bit of everyday journalism can’t make a difference?
Last week the Star set the news agenda at Holyrood, reporting the Presiding Officer’s invitation to the Scottish Parliament of a Ukrainian politician who founded a neonazi party.
The episode would have gone unnoticed were it not for the paper raising it in the post-FMQs press briefing, and subsequently putting in questions to parliamentary authorities.
Later that day Labour frontbencher Neil Findlay raised the invitation to applaud Andriy Parubiy in a point of order.
“I would prefer to know the next time I am asked to welcome a racist, fascist nazi to this parliament,” Findlay said in a fiery chamber contribution.
And that’s exactly what will now happen. Parliamentary procedures chiefs confirmed this week that MSPs will be informed in advance by email of international guests that Holyrood is planning to welcome.
The Ukrainian embassy is not best pleased. They fired off letters to Findlay and the Green MSP Ross Greer, who last week also condemned the visit in comments to the Star.
Ambassador Natalia Gariberenko suggested Greer had become a “victim of Russian disinformation.”
Her letter took a more sinister tone as she added: “Because of your comments we do realise how much work lies ahead of all of us to cure the people’s minds from the Kremlin’s hysteria and twisted reality.”
An analysis of the debacle in the Herald this week argued that “Parubiy has moved firmly in to the mainstream in recent years.”
It’s true Parubiy quit his neonazi party in 2004 — but it was much later in 2010, while representing the “mainstream” Our Ukraine party, that he defended the legacy of the nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
The SNP MP Chris Law told the Herald that Findlay’s intervention “will only serve the Kremlin.” Now who’s twisting reality?
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